Warning to businesses polluting water

2016-03-09 06:00
Water and sanitation director Barry Martin explains to councillor Andile Mfunda (wearing a white safety hat and reflector jacket) work that has been done to improve wastewater systems in Nelson Mandela Bay.      Photo: SUPPLIED

Water and sanitation director Barry Martin explains to councillor Andile Mfunda (wearing a white safety hat and reflector jacket) work that has been done to improve wastewater systems in Nelson Mandela Bay. Photo: SUPPLIED

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COMPANIES that do not comply with parameters as set out in their permits in terms of discharging their liquid waste into the municipal sewers must be warned as the metro is strengthening its systems in relation to monitoring.

Last financial year alone, the municipality issued R44-million in penalties to companies which have failed to comply.

The failure by companies to comply results in the pollution of rivers, canals and sea water.

This was revealed during an oversight visit by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality mayoral committee member for infrastructure and engineering councillor Andile Mfunda.

Following recent allegations of pollution in the Swartkops River and in other rivers across the city, Mfunda summoned water and sanitation officials to an accountability site visit to the Swartkops River and one of the municipality treatment works near the river called Fishwater Flats.

Speaking to officials at the river, Mfunda called on his officials to be more vigilant with companies that did not comply as their non-compliance had the potential to cause damage to the environment.

Through the sanitation sub-directorate, the municipality randomly visits industries across the city to take samples of the industries’ discharges.

After that they are taken for analysis and penalties are issued on those who contravene the water and sanitation services bylaw.

“We are a city that is committed to sustainable development,” Mfunda said.

“Protecting our environment, our rivers and canals is critical.

“We have put an investment of more than R250-million into our sanitation infrastructure across the city.

“We have overhauled a number of our pump stations, like the Missionvale and Markman pump stations, so that we can make sure that our sewerage and industrial waste handling complies with our water and sanitation bylaws.

“We will not tolerate transgressors because repercussions are severe for the environment.”

In Fishwater Flats alone, the municipality is spending about R200-million to overhaul and refurbish.

The Fishwater Flats Treatment Works treat about 67% of both domestic and industrial wastewater in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The remaining 33% is shared by the six other treatment works.

The Fishwater Flats treatment works was built and commissioned in 1976 and has been operating since then without a major refurbishment.

The work currently under construction will increase the treatment works capacity from the current 132 million litres per day to 165 million litres per day.

Mfunda said: “In each standing committee meeting, I expect an update on this issue.

“Officials must give me a clear indication that we have improved on this area.

“I do agree however that a good foundation has been laid from the last financial year. More can still be done. We cannot allow our efforts to be undermined.

“More frequent visits to industries and business will be made.

“Dealing with human resource matters will also be given attention.

“The municipality will also not hesitate to take to court those companies who refuse to comply and pay penalties.”

Mfunda also called for community members to refrain from throwing foreign objects into the sewer and stormwater systems as they also contributed to blockages that led to burst pipes, which ultimately ended up with the discharging of untreated waste into rivers and canals.

“We can not win this alone.

“Our people must work with us here,” he said.

“The pressure that the foreign objects put on our systems leads to a lot of damage.

“The money we spend in fixing those problems is money that we can use to work on our ageing infrastructure,” Mfunda said.

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